Two years ago today I held a one way ticket in my hand, and boarded a flight with my husband and 6 month old to Dubai. I don’t think I’ve cried more in my life than I did that day. Putting aside the intense anxiety I felt about flying, and the anxiety I had about flying with Isaac, even the business class seats were of no relief to me. I still remember how sad I felt at the airport that day. God bless one of my cousins who attended the airport with his family to send me off, other than him there wasn’t anyone else from my side to bid me farewell.
Goodbyes are the hardest, to be honest I was never too keen on living abroad. But I convinced myself that moving overseas felt like a chance to start over. A chance to start my new life as a mother away from the noise that was sometimes Melbourne. I didn’t realise this right away though. No, my first weeks were spent hoping that my husband would hate it here.
Two weeks into living in Dubai, I found out I was pregnant with Laila. My first thought was, ‘surely this’ll mean we will return home?’
My first year in Dubai feels like a blur now. It wasn’t until well into my second year that I finally found my feet as an expat. I started getting out of the apartment, started to make friends, started taking the kids out to play, finally things were starting to look up. I even looked for a job, almost ended up securing a position until they retracted the offer and gave it to someone who accepted less pay. That’ll happen here, anything to save a dirham.
I remember telling myself before we left, ‘there is no chance I will stay in Dubai for longer then 2 years’, and now here we are. The thought of returning to Melbourne now seems so far away. There so many things I love about my new home, and so many things I cant imagine living without now. Safety tops that list. I don’t remember the last time I felt safe enough to walk the streets at night in Melbourne, I don’t think I ever did. Let alone leaving a car door unlocked, with the window slightly ajar with your bag left inside, you’ll be sure that’s all still there the following day no doubt. You can’t put a price on something like that.
Don’t even get me started on mall trading hours and being able to have almost any café or restaurant deliver your favourite meals to your door, these are just little bonuses which make expat life all the more exciting.
Kite Beach – National Day weekend 2016
Grand Mosque – Maghrib Prayer, Abu Dhabi
The Sandpit – August 2017